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Old March 26 2011, 12:38 AM   #276
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Re: Movies Seen in 2011

30. Gigi (B-)

Continuing my little project of checking out old Best Picture winners; this was 1958's. A spectacular success in its day (it won 9 competition Oscars, breaking Gone With The Wind's record at the time; though notably, it's one of the few winners to have no acting nominations), it marked the beginning of a ten-year period (1958-1968) that could be called the golden age of the musical, where five of the ten BP winners in that era were musicals. West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music are all well-remembered to this day. Gigi and Oliver! are somewhat more obscure, particularly the former, since it's not based on a famous Charles Dickens novel.

I debated how to grade this one, from B- to B+, because I actually quite enjoyed watching it, but I decided that quite a bit of the enjoyment came from the film's status as a cultural curio, not because of any particular inherent quality. Mainly, I find it fascinating to consider how different 1950s society was in terms of keeping sex out of the public discourse that you could have a jaunty musical number called "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and nobody would think it was kind of creepy. The film does have a nice undercurrent of wit to it, but it's dramatically inert; there's not really much conflict, and no villain, which is disappointing in a musical as they usually have the best songs. And the songs, apart from the aforementioned "Thank Heaven", aren't particularly memorable. The production looks amazing, I must say, making great use of numerous Parisian locations. Maurice Chevalier's performance as the ribald old uncle is quite memorable.
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